This is the question the parliamentary portfolio committee on higher education is demanding an answer for.
Johannesburg – Parliament’s portfolio committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology has expressed concerns over the delays in the procurement of laptops for National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) qualifying students.
Committee chairperson Philly Mapulane said it was now four months since Minister Blade Nzimande announced that government would procure laptops for all NSFAS qualifying students in universities and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges.
This is part of the government’s strategy to facilitate multi-modal remote learning and teaching methodologies to save the 2020 academic year which has been hard hit by the lockdown.
“Students have since been eagerly awaiting the delivery of these laptops which, to date, remain undelivered as a result of unnecessary delays in the finalisation of the procurement processes by NSFAS.
“Of great concern are the allegations brought to the committee that there is interference with the procurement processes. Attempts are being made to manipulate the procurement process, and to finally get it aborted because certain service providers are not following recommended supply chain management processes of NSFAS,” Mapulane said.
He added that his committee took these allegations seriously and would follow them up with NSFAS administrator Randall Carolissen.
“We would like to appeal to Dr Carolissen not to allow any undue interference with the supply chain management processes of NSFAS, and to speedily conclude this process of the procurement of the laptops so that students from poor and working-class families can study and be taught remotely. The country cannot afford another Covid-19 procurement scandal,” Mapulane said.